The Tutorial Format in Problem-Based Learning

 

A Physical Therapy student measures range of motion for knee flexion with a goniometer

Each semester includes a tutorial experience. Tutorial groups meet for 3-hour sessions twice a week. Tutorial groups consist of 5-7 students and a tutorial leader. Sessions focus on carefully developed patient cases. There are three elements to each tutorial session. The majority of the time is used by the students to teach the group the elements or issues related to the case that each student accepted as an assignment in the previous session. Between tutorial sessions, students research their assigned topic(s) and prepare materials to facilitate group learning. During tutorial, students present their material in a manner most conducive to integration of content relative to the patient case, to problem-solving and to critical thinking. The second component of the tutorial session is to work as a group to identify the learning issues to be found in the new patient case, and to divide these issues into assignments for each group member that are researched and prepared for the next session. The final component of each tutorial session includes a verbal performance evaluation of one member of the group and is expected to include strengths, as well as areas for improvement.

The members of the tutorial group share responsibility for promoting individual learning within the group and maximizing group function. The tutorial leader assists students only as necessary in discovering relevant aspects of the case and in facilitating the students' management of group dynamics. Each student's tutorial performance is evaluated in writing at least twice each semester, including a self-assessment, assessment by at least 2 peers and a summary assessment and grade by the tutorial leader. 

The tutorials are supported by large group discussions and laboratory experiences. These instructional formats are designed to enrich exploration of issues involved in clinical decision-making for individual or groups of patients. Students will understand how patient care is supported by other aspects of professional practice and to develop examination, intervention and communication skills.